31 July 2010
Education has traditionally been seen as a pedagogic relationship between the teacher and the learner. It was always the teacher who decided what the learner needed to know, and indeed, how the knowledge and skills should be taught. In the past thirty years or so there has been quite a revolution in education through research into how people learn, and resulting from that, further work on how teaching could and should be provided. While andragogy (Knowles, 1970) provided many useful approaches for improving educational methodology, and indeed has been accepted almost universally, it still has connotations of a teacher-learner relationship. It may be argued that the rapid rate of change in society, and the so-called information explosion, suggest that we should now be looking at an educational approach where it is the learner himself who determines what and how learning should take place. Heutagogy, the study of self-determined learning, may be viewed as a natural progression from earlier educational methodologies - in particular from capability development - and may well provide the optimal approach to learning in the twenty-first century.
The distinction Knowles (1970) made between how adults and children learn was an important landmark in teaching and learning practices in vocational education and training, and in higher education. Andragogy, and the principles of adult learning that were derived from it transformed face-to-face teaching and provided a rationale for distance education based on the notion of self-directedness. There is, however, another revolution taking place in educational circles that appears to go one step beyond andragogy, to a new set of principles and practices that may have application across the whole spectrum of the education and learning lifespan.
This revolution recognizes the changed world in which we live. A... [continues]
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